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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Caithness Controversy

5th September 2013

This week in the press (Daily Record) it was reported that a newly erected English-Gaelic road sign placed in Caithness was shot at within twenty four hours of going up. Of all the regions of Scotland, Caithness has so far exhibited the greatest annoyance at what is widely perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be a policy which promotes Gaelic at the expense of the native dialect of Scots. The press reported Caithness councillor Alex Macleod as being shocked at the act of vandalism, and he further commented There is an anti-Gaelic minority in Caithness and it has a nasty streak. Of course, there are always two sides to every story. During the 1970s a minority of Gaelic activists travelled around the Highland region with egg shells filled with paint, pelting English-only signs, in an effort to force government to listen to them. While Councillor Macleod is quite right to deplore acts of vandalism, he and other elected officials might consider the underlying causes of such anger, just as occurred with Gaelic in the 1970s.